BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The UEFA Champions League clash of German sides, Schalke 04 and Portugal’s Porto this Tuesday night may not be the top on the pick, it is most likely to open up a record.
Porto’s goalkeeper, Iker Casillas who kept the goal for the victorious Spanish team at the World Youth Championship for U-20 in Nigeria 19 years ago is at the brink of the UEFA Champions’ League appearance record.
Iker Casillas misses the ball in Spain’s 3-2 defeat of USA in Port Harcourt during the Nigeria ’99 tournament.
If fielded, Casillas will exceed Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs’ record of 19 appearances. This will therefore be his 20th appearance.
With more matches to come as this will just be the first of six group games to play, he will most likely become the most capped in the most followed continental clubs’ league in the world.
Casillas is one of only 11 players who have featured in 15 or more UEFA Champions League seasons.
Now 37, Casillas has made more UEFA club competition appearances than any other player, though Cristiano Ronaldo is closing in on that particular record.
However, the Portuguese forward will need to play at least four more seasons to match Casillas’s current mark of 19 campaigns.
Players Who Have Featured In Most UEFA Champions League Seasons
19 Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Porto – 1999/2000–present)
19 Ryan Giggs (Man. United – 1994/95–2013/14, excluding 1995/96 campaign)
17 Paul Scholes (Man. United – 1998/99–2012/13, excluding 2011/12 campaign)
16 Xavi Hernández (Barcelona – 1998/99–2014/15, excluding 2003/04 campaign)
16 Arjen Robben (PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern – 2002/03–present)
15 Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris, Man. United – 2002/03–2017/18, excluding 2016/17 campaign)
15 Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke – 1995/96–2010/11)
15 Gary Neville (Man. United – 1994/95–2009/10, excluding 1995/96 campaign)
15 Cristiano Ronaldo (Man. United, Real Madrid – 2003/04–present)
15 Ashley Cole (Arsenal, Chelsea, Roma – 2000/01–2014/15)
15 Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona – 2002/03–2017/18, excluding 2003/04)